Comprehensive coverage

An email from an engineer at NASA, days before the disaster, warned of a problem in the landing gear area

An engineer at NASA predicted horror scenarios concerning the left landing of the Columbia shuttle days before the disaster * these scenarios did not rise to the highest levels

Colombia could be in danger if there is a compromise regarding the thermal tiles protecting the left wheel. This is what an engineer at NASA wrote days before the Columbia disaster. These things are delivered on Thursday by the Houston Chronicle newspaper, which also specializes in the field of space and in particular what is happening at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The newspaper also covered in several articles the functioning of the control center in Houston which received the brunt of the criticism. The newspaper spares no words to describe the poor functioning of the control center, "they behaved like in the Middle Ages".
At the time the email was written by a NASA employee in Virginia, NASA engineers had enough time to come to the conclusion that remnants from the insulation of the large space fuel tank did not seriously damage the left wing and the left landing gear during the launch. The control people read this email, but did not respond.
NASA spokesman William Jeffs confirmed that at least one senior official commented that the left landing gear was lowered before the shuttle disintegrated over Texas at an altitude of about 60 km and a speed of 18 times the speed of sound - much higher and much faster than the time when it was supposed to be released. However, Jeff emphasized that two other sensors showed at the same time that the left pedestal was raised properly.
We're not sure if the readings show the pod was unloaded or if they were the result of a faulty sensor sending incorrect data, Jeffs said.
A senior investigation team is looking into whether insulation coating from the external fuel tank at the launch caused the beginning of the chain of events that caused the disaster.
Senior officials at NASA said that the message from January 30 was not seriously discussed by the flight director and other senior officials of the control center. However, they said that they were not concerned about this because according to their analyses, the tile above the landing pad was not seriously damaged.
"It's hard all the time to think what would have happened if they were happy with the results of the surgeries and the work done during the mission. They understood it. They felt comfortable with it," said the flight director, Milt Halpin, who did not hear about the email until days after the disaster.
This black message was written by Robert Doherty, a shuttle landing specialist at NASA's Langley Center. He spoke of a bloodbath due to overheating during the landing. The heat reaches two thousand degrees Celsius and only the thermal tiles protect the sensitive systems.
Doherty admits that his scenario is the worst case, but still urged the control center to seriously consider the possibility of landing without the left landing, meaning danger on the ground, or asking the astronauts to parachute out. He argued that it would be irresponsible not to prepare.
The recipient of the message at the Johnson Space Center, David Lechner, who works at United Space Alliance, a NASA subcontractor that maintains the shuttles, thanked him and wrote: "Like all of us, we hope that the analysis of the impact of these fragments is correct and this whole debate is futile."
The researchers claim that they do not know exactly what was the cause of the downing of Columbia, but one of the many scenarios is also the conclusion that the analysis of the fragments was incorrect.
Doherty urged the control center to be prepared in any case. "If the wheel gets too hot because of tiling compromises, the aluminum wheel will heat up and the tires could explode, he said.

And hence Doherty offers several scenarios:
* If the tires explode, the landing bay door may also explode into a supersonic air stream and may lead to the destruction of the spacecraft. At the very least, the controversy over the spacecraft may not allow it to reach the landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
*The heat may also contribute to the explosion factors hidden in the wheel itself, and which the mechanism is designed to open the pedestal doors upon landing if the mechanical system is not working. This could have caused the wheels to come out at 200k feet, and again, the same results.
* Overheating may damage the hydraulic fluid or the other systems and thus prevent the landing gear from swelling at all.

* If the pedestal did not come out at the right moment, seconds from the landing track and the second pedestal would be released, the asymmetric conditions could destroy the shuttle during landing, according to Doherty.

* If the shuttle tries to land on its belly, the underside of the shuttle will first heat up and throw the crew compartment up and then violently the compartment will fall onto the track.

* To avoid a belly landing, the crew must run out, Doherty said. This is not a good day.

The abandonment maneuver, which has not yet been attempted, involves waiting until the shuttle is below 20 feet (6 km), then opening a hatch, pulling out a long rod that will allow the astronauts to slide out and avoid the wing. At the end of the pole they will free fall and then activate the parachutes.

When that happens, all the preparations won't matter. The astronauts never even made it to a belly landing.
No one tried to discuss it or even thought that we would reach a catastrophic event because they knew they could not do anything in such a case," said Halpin.
Halpin said about a dozen engineers participated in the discussion surrounding Doherty's letter. He said that informal e-mail is simply the modern equivalent of telephone discussions about providing scripts. The argument reached the level of the flight director in charge of the mechanics, maintenance, arm and crew system, one of many visitors sitting in the main control room, Halpin said. However, the flight director responsible for the return to the atmosphere, who was actually the director of the control room, did not know about these discussions until Wednesday this week. he said.

While Halpin and flight director Leroy Cain both said the discussion was inappropriate, a former senior executive at the control center said he found the comment unusual.
While it was good that the control room was still right to hear other opinions, the normal channel is not peer-to-peer e-mail, said Don Fudi, a staff member at the Johnson Center. There is a formal mechanism that needs to be passed through to examine the script, he said. So that all opinions and concerns will be known to everyone.
Doherty declined to comment to the Houston Chronicle. Carlisle Campbell, a retired NASA control center official who received a copy of Doherty's letter, also declined to comment. "I'm sure I'll be called to testify," he said.

According to the Houston Chronicle

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.